Needed a bunch of NPCs for the current adventure, so I put together an NPC Character sheet to record the relevant info.
This will hopefully start the process of building up an NPC library for use in my games.
While I love the cyberpunk 2020 system, I feel that the Martial Arts part of it has a few problems and does not deal with Mixed Martial Arts.
Firstly, many Martial Arts are just variations of a theme as there are only so many ways to injure someone. And taking multiple Martial Art Skills, your character ends up wasting IP (ie Experience). So as it stands, CP2020 does not deal with mixing martial arts together that well.
Secondary, most Martial Arts start with the foundations and then include weapon training at higher levels of skill. Having chosen a Martial Art, a character is almost locked into that path. So the form does not grow or evolve as the character does.
And finally, it cuts down on the roleplaying opportunities as a character does not need to learn from others. To find the master that can teach them that final technique to become the ultimate killing machine.
So the goal of this is to retain the feel of the CP2020 martial arts while allowing character growth. To simplify the system. And to give the cool feel of the H2H from movies like John Wick (1, 2, 3, & soon 4), The Raid, & soo many other movies…
This is the Art-less edition (ie No Art)
One of the choices a Player Character can have in Cyberpunk 2020 is to sell out. Basically, it’s more chrome for young punks at the cost for servitude to the Corporation, Covert Military, or Organised Crime. New players can access these easy packages of cyberware. Providing them with Cyber-Soldier, Netrunner, Tech Support, Faceman, and a Bioware focused pack.
Pages 93 & 94 cover the details of selling out and as a GM it does provide many opportunities to make the character’s lives more difficult. An organization’s coercion technique is hidden in the GM’s notes adds some paranoia to the game.
An example of a corporate’s holdover a character is Case from Necromancer. Having been locked out of the net by his past, Armitage offers a treatment to give him what he wants. As always, life is not that simple as the treatment is temporary, requiring Armitage’s cure.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHQqm6ijntg[/embedyt]
Having a character selling out leads to some interesting adventure hooks.
This is a basic font to map out subnets for Cyberpunk 2020. The lowercase is all of the old classic icons Netrunning section of the Core Rules, while the uppercase takes inspiration from Sector 34. All the glyphs have been created by me and are offered here with a CC-BY-SA license.
Body Conditioning or Body Building is a BODY-based skill represents the character’s knowledge of how to train the body to improve its condition. This idea originally appeared in Interface 1#1, but it was too easy to go from BODY 2 to 10 (or higher) without problems. So this is a rewrite of that idea.
|Very Weak (2)||5|
|Weak (3 – 4)||10|
|Average (5 – 7)||15|
|Strong (8 – 9)||20|
|Very Strong (10)||25|
On a roll of ‘one’, roll again to determine the degree of the Fumble.
|1 – 4||No effect. You just failed.|
|5 – 6||You look like a fool and everyone knows it.|
|7 – 8||Minor injury. 1 point of damage.|
|9||Major injury. 1d6 damage.|
|10||Severe injury. 2d6 damage and – 1 BODY.|
There is REFLEX training used by the US Air-force to improve the responsiveness of their pilots. The same is true for world class athletics training the lower half of their body for movement (ie MA).
MA Training would be limited to skill level / 3, with a maximum of 12.
REF Training should be limited to skill level / 4, with a maximum of 11.
It appears that there are other forms of training the can make people more Emphatic (EMP), deal with pressures (COOL), etc. However, it is difficult to know how these could be set up in game.
Cyberpunk 2020 initiative system favors solos with the idea of “move first kill first“. So to help balance out the turn order, to limit the number of multiple actions, and provide a chance to the others to act before the solo team laying waste to everyone.
The first draft of these is from ’95 when we had a large group to test them on.
A Solo & Fixer face off against 3 gangers. Their initiatives are 22 (Solo), 15 (Fixer), 16, 13, & 9 (for the Gangers).
Round 1: Everyone will take their maximum amount of actions. Solo (3), Fixer (2), Gangers #1 & #2 (2 each), Ganger #3 (1 action).
The Solo will take 3 actions, the fixer 2, and the Gangers 1 each as they aren’t that skilled.
All in all our groups found the rules easy to follow and it makes for an interesting combat as the situation evolves around the characters. It works, however, it limits the style of game play to back and forth gun-play.
One of the things that I had not considered when playing Cyberpunk 2020 & Shadowrun back in the ’90s was how people live, day to day. The cyberpunk life consisted of doing jobs until you die. They may be a little lip service to the background world, but it was rare to inhabit that world in your game.
This profile of Serge Faguet provides some insight into the life of a Corporate character. The article goes into the mix of lifestyle, drugs, and technology all focused to give himself an edge. It may be a set of extreme steps to take, but it may become to the norm.
A story from Mirrorshades (or I think it was) about a medical student regularly using a drug to enhance her mental state to be able to absorb the huge quantity of information needed for med school. So taking this to its logical extreme. If drugs, cyber-technology, and any form of enhancement you can make could give you an edge. Then those technologies become required to run with the pack, or even to be in the race.
A few questions emerge from this.
Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, & Cyberspace provide useful definitions of character types, the gear they will need, and the tech they are likely to use. So while the game-systems are different, the intent behind them is the same.
Soldiers, Fighters, Gangers, Punks, Killers, Street-samurai are all examples of the Warrior Archetype. In the cyberpunk genre, it all about who shoots first kills first and enhancing those critical combat skills. Cyber-optics, neural links, and reflect boosting become the order of the day.
Facemen include Fixers, Corporates, Mr. Johnson, and Tricksters in general. The goal is to win social conflicts to get the best deal, persuade the right person, or intimidate the gangers. To this end, they will need cyberware that enhances the social encounters.
Knowledge brokers (aka Wizards) include Netrunners, Deckers, Jockeys who access the digital web to find stuff that others can not. It can also include a character with specialist knowledge, like a Tech or Ripper Doc. The cyberware will be focused on enhancing the mind and allowing access to new data sources.
While not exhaustive, this really just provides a gateway into the character’s world and the lives they could live.
As a GM the challenge here is to balance the good with the bad. So how do you set up the consequences of cyber-enhancement? What enhancements are needed and the consequences that could involve?
The use of cyberware tends to lead to a loss of Humanity (in Cyberpunk 2020) or Essence (in Shadowrun). These are common ways of regulating a character’s actions. However, there are other GM techniques to manipulate the character’s behavior.
Peer pressure plays a part in any sort of social game. As a GM you can use NPCs reactions to your advantage.
Regardless, of why NPCs react they way they do, the effect is still the same in flavoring the cyberpunk life.
Excessive drug use can lead to addition. Cyberpunk 2020 has rules for that. Not too sure if Shadowrun or Cyberspace does. Regardless of the game-system media like, there is media other there that provides some examples of the consequences. So the question now becomes how could you model the pitfalls of addiction for a character?
One way to create the feeling of the world is to explore a character’s daily life during session zero. During it, you can bring in all the cyberpunk elements that you want in your game. Focusing on the particular things that are important, with the others becoming faded into the background.
To help set the foundation of the cyberpunk life, you can explore a day in the life or common experiences. Some examples that you could explore are;
The whole goal of this for the GM is to tease out more details about the character.
A few years ago, I was working on a set of science fiction themed floor tiles with the idea of releasing them on Shapeways. However, I was not happy with the design as the legs of the pieces snapped off quickly pointing to a flaw in the design. It’s one that could be easily fixed, but the time lag and cost of iterating the design would have been prohibitive. So with other priorities pressing in, I let it slide to the back burner.
Now, just recently I get my first 3D Printer and have been looking as Devon Jones’ designs on Thingiverse. The Terrain tiles and miniatures that he and others have created is truly inspiring, and I’ve been bitten by the 3D design bug again. So, I pulled out some old designs I did in Blender and reworked them to improve the design and create a set of sci-fi dungeon tiles that I could use with Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, Infinity, or Starfinder.
The first was a set of plain tiles, to use as a template for the other designs. Then I took the designs for an age ago and tweaked them to suit the printer.
After watching Seth Skorkowsky’s Cyberpunk 2020 -RPG Review 2.0, I found it necessary to put together an updated version of the Character sheet.
Luckily, I’d been working on something similar for a homebrew and I had most of this kicking about. So with a few quick changes for the stats & skill list, I’ve backported this character sheet to the Cyberpunk 2020 era.
The logo is adapted from the new Cyberpunk 2077 computer game and the font is Cyberpunk is Not Dead. The text is straight from the original character sheet, although I did add Seth’s sections for vehicles & clothing.
Also here’s Seth’s review on one of the best games systems I’ve ever played as it strikes the balance between realism and playability. Sadly, the tech of the world has not aged well with its FAX machines and archaic ideas around the Internet.